Kansas City, MO, United States | Member Since 2011
If you're like me then you found this book because you read the Snowman, loved it, and decided to read the whole series. And then, like me, this review is meaningless to you. You will buy it, without finishing the review, you will listen to it. You will love it. And then you'll buy the next one. So let me validate that decision. Do it. Buy the book. Buy the series. You'll LOVE it.
There, glad that's over with. The rest of you, then, have not read any of the Harry Hole series and have found that while there were two written before the Redbreast, this is the first on Audible. So you're wondering if, given the series' incomplete nature, it's worth reading. I'm glad you asked! YES, YES, YES, YES. It's worth it. This is an amazing series that only gets better with time.
In essence, the series is about a middle aged detective named Harry Hole who is lonely, sad and a recovering alcoholic. Not many people like him, but - as you would expect from a detective series - he's wonderful at his job. He better be, he has nothing else in his life. This book finds him involved with neo-natzis, brutal murders and a sad history with Norwegian solders who fought on the wrong side in WWII. We bounce through time as a tale of dispair and modern day aggression takes hold of your throat. And it doesn't let go.
As I said when i reviewed the Snowman. This series doesn't try and re-invent the wheel (a brilliant but disturbed detective, a series of murders, an investigation in the proverbial heart of darkness). You've seen this stuff before. What Jo Nesbo does is take these cliches and does them better, with more intelligence and more humanity and more depth than you've ever seen before. It's a wonderful series. And it begins here. So you might as well get started.
There's a problem with The World is Flat and it's not Thomas Friedman's fault. His research is impeccable, his questions probing, his prose light and readable. No, the problem is that this book is now antiquated. It's sad to say that only a few years after the most recent publication, but I believe it's true.
The World is Flat discusses about how telecommunications in the digital age substantively changed the economics of the whole world. It describes how America has fallen behind parts of the world like India and Russia in taking greatest advantage of these changes and he predicts a shifting of economic supremacy in the future. Like I said, his research and reasoning is sound. But this was published before the 2008 economic collapse. That changed not only the United States but much of the Western and the developed world as well.
Because of the timing, his predictions are no longer exacting. If he wrote a new book, one discussing who will rise from the economic ashes best and fastest, using the technology he discussed in this book, I would read it. Friedman is good author, I just feel this book has been eclipsed by history.
I'm almost at a loss for what to say about The Emperor of all Maladies. There isn't a moment, not a section, not a thread of this incredible book that feels out of place and isn't riveting. At the same time, emotionally gripping, scientifically enthralling, educational, and just darn good storytelling, Mukherjee takes us through the history of cancer. When did it first appear, who catalogued it, what did they think it was? When cancer was identified how was it treated and who was involved? What is the history of each major cancer and each major treatment? These questions are the heart and soul of this book.
The sections on history, surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, prevention, and detection are then punctuated by moments from the author's time treating patients. You get to know people like Carla who has leukemia and you struggle with her as she battles a particularly awful illness. At the heart of this book is the people who have made up the war on cancer and they are drawn with love and precision.
I have rarely been as excited about a book as I have been reading this one.
There's a reason this book was considered a living classic when it was published in the 60's and has remained a classic continuously to this day. It is impeccable and quite possibly one of the more perfect books I've ever read. Here we have an unbiased examination of all the people and events that planned for and lead to the start of WWI, the Great War. The first section of the book discusses each influence and who participated and how it affected the overall readiness. It's a wonderfully precise description of an intricate fuse.
Then, a third of the way through the book, Franz Ferdinand dies, and the world is thrust into war. Now we have as precise, as finely tuned a description of the fuse burning and the ultimate explosion. She looked at every aspect of who declared war, what the debate was like, and how they did it. Then she turns her attention again, this time to the fighting, and writes a perfectly paced and description war history, examining all the movements of the first 30 days of combat. At the end, she looks at the world is devastating and analyzes the outcomes in perfectly cogent and arresting prose. It's an amazing accomplishment. If I had a criticism, it is that she spends no time looking at the lighting of the fuse, the assassination of Ferdinand. But she did this because the world was going to go to war, it was just looking for a reason.
This is a great book. Buy it.
I've always felt the best compliment I can give a book is to say I wished it was longer. Revolution 1989 deserves my greatest compliments. This story is nearly 20 hours long I wished the whole while that it was at least 25. There is so much here and it is so interesting. You'll watch it unfold with wonder and excitement, I promise.
It examines the Soviet Union, specifically the satellite states, from the appointment of Pope John Paul II in 1978, to Nicolae Ceausescu's execution in December of 1989. The scope of this book is immense, we watch three Russian dictator's come and go and see the progression that will lead to the collapse of Eastern Germany, Czechoslovakia, Romania, the Ukraine, and Poland. At the end, Russia stands as a completely different country. How did all these events happen within months of each other in relatively bloodless uprisings?
That's a lot of ground to cover and I wanted to get to know all the amazing people who made it happen. As it is, we get to see them on a cursory level but have to move quickly through time, as there is so much to cover (my favorite two chapters were in Chernobyl and the revolution in Romania during Ceausescu's last speech.) It's incredible that a 20 hour book can feel rushed, but this does.
That said, it's an amazing book. Even though these events happened in my lifetime, I did not see them for all their colors and intrigue. So here it is, a book that isn't perfect, but one that's on my Highly Recommended List.
I wish I had more to say about Rogue Island, but I just found it unremarkable. I love a good mystery and one about a serial arsonist sounded like a lot of fun. But the plot lingers and there are really no serious twists. There are too many sections that don't advance the investigation and most of the book is spent looking at the main character's personal life. I just didn't care. When the whodunnit moment comes, it's underwhelming and dragged out. I found very little satisfaction in the end.
This is a series and there's already a second book. I didn't hate the first, but I won't be buying the second either.
Here's the takeaway: this is a shocking and fascinating book. The authors are therapists who specialize in hoarding behavior and helping individuals overcome their compulsions. And what compulsions they are!The subjects in this book have collected so much stuff they don't know the size of their rooms, they forget whole rooms exist, they have to crawl to certain destinations, they put their health and marriages at risk, and they cannot stop.
You'll watch as the authors employ a series of creative treatments to try and mitigate the compulsions. Some succeed and some fail. What is most incredible is the chapter about childhood hoarding, proving the behavior can be inherited or learned. This is a short but amazing read, highly recommended.
I greatly enjoyed the Big Burn. Here's the story of the national park service, a service that nearly never happened. Teddy Roosevelt had to work some serious legislative magic to make it happen and when it did it was poorly accepted, underfunded, and rarely supported. But into the world these rangers went, hoping to protect our natural resources. And immediately the biggest fire any of them would ever see broke out.
This is the story of the new rangers and their boss, Gifford Pinchot, trying to establish a service. This is also the story of a town in the great north that finds itself in the path of a hellish blaze. How will they escape, how will they fight the blaze, and who will survive when it dies down? It's a wonderful story of bravery and ingenuity. The narration is thoughtful and crisp and the story is all the more exciting because it's true. Enjoy.
I've read a number of Koontz's books and this is a good one. It's a very good one. But it's not a great one. As the publisher's summary says, this is the story of a bartender who finds a note on his car, bring it to the cops and one person dies, don't and a different person dies. So begins an ever increasing and rapidly escalating series of choices, each worse than the last. And the body count is piling up. The main character is sympathetic, the villian is wicked and the final confrontation looms dark in the horizon.
However, there is a problem. The plot feels very constrained. You can see Koontz pulling strings to keep the plot contained, to keep the cast of characters smaller, to make sure the authorities don't get too involved. For that reason the development doesn't feel natural. Some of the deductions are a little shady and the last confrontation isn't the masterpiece I have come to expect from Koontz - and man who is a real master of his craft.
It's good, but a little contrived. For that reason it's a four and not five star book to me. But, in the end, I'm glad I read it.
This is the kind of book you can sink your teeth into. It opens with a shocking maritime disaster and plunges into a revenge tale that you could and will follow to the ends of the Earth. One man, desperate for revenge, sails around the world, hunting Leviathan, an oil tanker, the largest moving thing on the planet Earth. He has one shot and a single sail yacht. The circumstances working against him mount in an ever-tightening noose.
This is one of the best plotted thrillers I've read. The tension never lets up, the characters are interesting, the actions are realistic, and despite this realism I still couldn't guess that our main character would do next. Made all the better by Marc Vietor, the narrator from the Deadly Sin Series, this is an amazing book that has not aged with time. Treat yourself!
What do you say about a book as finely researched, as meticulously executed, as solidly paced, as informative and horrifying and shocking as the Third Reich at War? It is a masterpiece and all I can say to Richard J. Evans is, "Thank You." This is an exceptional book that begins with the invasion of Poland and ends with the Nuremburg Trials. You can read it alone or as part of the larger series: The Coming of the Third Reich and the Third Reich in Power. It is a fantastic series and this book is its pinnacle.
It is not a history of WWII, as that has been done many times. Instead, this is a story of the Third Reich, their leadership at home, their policies, and their wartime strategies. There is, of course, military history here and there is a history of the Holocaust. Both of these sections are told in finite and powerful detail. But this is also the story of Germany and its fall into absolute ruin.
Read these books, they are researched, written, paced, and read with perfection.
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